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Australian Market Advances

(RTTNews) - The Australian stock market is advancing on Thursday following the positive cues overnight from Wall Street amid easing tensions in Hong Kong and on diminished chances of a no-deal Brexit in the UK.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index is adding 25.80 points or 0.39 percent to 6,578.80, after touching a high of 6,581.10 earlier. The broader All Ordinaries Index is up 28.10 points or 0.42 percent to 6,684.20. Australian stocks closed lower on Wednesday.

In the oil space, Oil Search is rising almost 2 percent, Santos is advancing more than 1 percent and Woodside Petroleum is adding 1 percent after crude oil prices gained overnight.

The big four banks are also advancing. ANZ Banking, National Australia Bank, Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are higher in a range of 0.5 percent to 1.0 percent.

Among the major miners, Fortescue Metals is gaining almost 4 percent and Rio Tinto is advancing more than 1 percent, while BHP Billiton is declining almost 1 percent.

Gold miner Newcrest Mining is edging down 0.1 percent and Evolution Mining is declining 0.6 percent even as gold prices rose modestly overnight.

Myer Holdings reported a narrow full-year profit, compared to a loss last year, while revenue declined more than 3 percent. The department store chain's shares are gaining almost 8 percent.

Sigma Healthcare reported an 81 percent fall in half-year profit on lower sales revenue as well as one-time restructuring costs and also cut its interim dividend. The retail pharmacy group's shares are losing almost 6 percent.

TPG Telecom said its full-year profit fell 56 percent after the company incurred huge costs from scrapping its planned mobile network. The internet provider's shares are declining almost 1 percent.

In economic news, Australia is scheduled to release trade data for July today.

In the currency market, the Australian dollar rose against the U.S. dollar on Thursday. The local currency was quoted at $0.6798, compared to $0.6779 on Wednesday.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Wednesday, reflecting a positive reaction to developments overseas, including news that Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has withdrawn a controversial extradition bill. The bill, which would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China, sparked widespread protests across Hong Kong.
Positive sentiment was also generated in reaction to a report showing growth in China's service sector accelerated in August despite broader economic headwinds.

The Dow advanced 237.45 points or 0.9 percent to 26,355.47, the Nasdaq soared 102.72 points or 1.3 percent to 7,976.88 and the S&P 500 jumped 31.51 points or 1.1 percent to 2,937.78.

The major European markets also moved to the upside on the day. While the U.K.'s FTSE 100 Index rose by 0.6 percent, the German DAX Index jumped by 1 percent and the French CAC 40 Index surged up by 1.2 percent.

Crude oil futures rebounded from previous session's losses and recorded their biggest single-session gain in about two months on Wednesday, buoyed by strong service sector data out of China and positive news on the political front. WTI crude for October delivery spiked $2.32 or 4.3 percent to $56.26 a barrel.
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